By: Adam Pasternak
As expected, the MLB offseason is already in full swing and big moves have been made only weeks after the World Series concluded. The big fish are still out there but qualifying offers have been extended and a major trade has been made. Andrelton Simmons’ name had been popping up in rumours everywhere. First it was the Padres, then it was the Rockies, but now he is a L.A Angel! As well, MLB history was made by none other than Colby Rasmus, as up until this week no player had ever accepted a qualifying offer since its existence not too many years ago. He changed the trend, signing the deal with the Houston Astros for 1 year, $15.8 million. Marco Estrada on the other hand, declined his qualifying offer and re-signed in Toronto with the Blue Jays for 2 years, $26 million.
As mentioned, star shortstop Andrelton Simmons was moved from the Atlanta Braves to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Regarded as the best defensive shortstop in the game, this deal came as a huge shock to many. His name had been mentioned in rumours but no one really thought anything of it. In the past week, it was thought that the Padres had actually acquired him, but it was untrue, and then it was the Rockies (again, untrue). Finally, he ended up on the other L.A team with a recently signed extension and what looks to be a more successful place for Simmons to play in. The Braves got a pretty good return, with stud pitching prospect Sean Newcomb highlighting the package of prospects. They are clearly in rebuild mode, but have some really nice pieces that should grow into something special a few years down the road. The Angels have now have what some might consider the two best defensive players at the two most important defensive positions. Simmons and Mike Trout are going to be very fun to watch. Simmons’ bat isn’t anywhere near where Trout’s is, but he will get better. Defence is definitely his strength. It will be interesting to see how this move works for the Angels. Will Simmons find his bat? Or, will the Braves have won this trade in 3 years? As they say, only time will tell.
The qualifying offer this year in the MLB is $15.8 million. That is a lot of money. How Colby Rasumus is now the first person to ever accept a qualifying offer truly amazes me. This is way more money than a lot of players ever make in a year in their whole careers. Why would you not sign that offer then worry about the long term deal the next offseason? Estrada declined his and was fortunate to still get a nice deal, but his annual salary for the next two years is still less than the qualifying offer. Colby Rasmus accepting his was very unique. He knew that there wasn’t really much interest in him around the league, at least for the salary he had been earning. He would have been stupid not to accept the offer. Unless this coming season goes extremely well for him, he won’t ever make anywhere near $15.8 million again in his career. Matt Weiters was in a similar situation coming off Tommy John surgery and so after hearing about Rasmus, there wasn’t really any shock with him accepting his offer. I wonder if Rasmus will start a trend, or will accepted qualifying offers still be a rarity?
As I talked about earlier, Marco Estrada declined his qualifying offer and signed back in Toronto for 2 years, $26 million. Still a nice salary for him, but not as much as he would have been awarded if he took the qualifying offer. For Estrada though, job security was clearly more important and so a sacrifice of a few million was worth it. He’s in his thirties and has only now had his first successful season. Who knows? Last year could have been a fluke. It was the safe, but smart choice to make. It is also great for the Jays, as I think that Estrada will be a productive starter for the next couple of years. His changeup and how he throws it with the same motion as his fastball and with how he is able to change speeds, is just so devastating for hitters. With it looking like Price will be playing elsewhere next season, the Jays really needed to lock Estrada up and they did just that with a great deal.
The offseason has quickly heated up, and with the GM meetings still going on in Boca, more madness is expected. Keep checking back in for updates and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
What do you think of the Simmons trade? Will more players accept qualifying offers? Did Estrada do the right thing in signing for less, but for longer? Comment below!